[Guide] How to Install Windows 8 in VirtualBox – What Do You See?

Windows 8 is the hot topic in current world of Operating Systems, this new OS from Microsoft expected to release in 2012. This OS would be totally different from normal desktop Operating Systems as per the news and rumors available on internet currently. I got the chance to install this latest OS from Microsoft on desktop virtualization software and see the new changes. This simple guide shows how to install Windows 8 in VirtualBox and play around with it. (with the original release from Microsoft)

UPDATE – This guide has been updated on 16-09-2011.

Microsoft released the first distribution as developer preview recently. Most of the users confirmed that the steps in this guide worked well with official release also.

inside post


Step by Step Method to Install Windows 8 in VirtualBox

Before start the steps, understand the basic requirement for this installation. You must have a Hardware Virtualization Technology (VT) computer. I tried this on Dell Optiplex 755 computer which doesn’t have VT supported processor, the installation started and copied all files, but with the first restart virtual machine hung with black screen in some white texts. I have changed all possible settings in Virtual machine and tried, but no luck.

1) Make sure your computer support Hardware Virtualization Technology – Read more information about Virtualization Technology.


2) Download the correct distribution for your computer processor (32 bit or 64bit), you can download it from official site here.

3) Create a new virtual machine. Select ‘Windows 7’ as OS version.

4) Enable VT-x and Nesting Paging options as shown below.

VirtualBox settings for Windows 8

Enable PAE/NX under processor settings. You can change the processor numbers according to physical processor cores, (I set to 2, because mine is Intel Core2duo)

Enable IO APIC under motherboard settings of virtual machine.

enable IO APIC

5) Enable 3D Acceleration, you can enable 2D Acceleration also. Maximize the display memory size. In fact, I’m not sure how these settings will be helpful to improve the display performance…keep reading.

display settings

6) Mount the downloaded ISO file and start the virtual machine. Installation should start normally like Windows 7.

installation first screen

7) Run and configure the first personalization steps. You must land on the new version of desktop environment metro UI if everything is correct.

As per Microsoft’s requirements, screen resolution should be higher than 1024×768 to get proper working tiles in metro UI.

Here is the solution to fix this issue and get better performance, lets install VirtualBox guest additions.


Install VirtualBox guest additions on Windows 8 Virtual machine

8.) Mount the guest additions built in ISO file by going to ‘Devices’ in menu and click ‘ Install Guest Additions’. After ISO mounted to virtual machine’s DVD/CD drive, explore the drive.

Right click on Windows guest additions for 32bit or 64bit (depends on the installed version) file and under Compatibility change the mode to Windows 7.

guest additions installation

After pressing Apply, run the installation and restart Virtual machine. Now automatically the screen resolution will be changed to higher and you could see the difference in performance. Now check the tiles in metro UI, it must work.


Issues I Faced and How I Fixed


Let me tell the truth, the above steps did not work on my Intel core2duo processor. But, I managed to install successfully by trying several combinations.

If the above steps did not work for you, then you can try the below steps. When I tried the above steps above steps, I got the following error. This is the new interface for famous Windows blue screen error.

error message


Here are the settings helped me in my host.

9) Change the motherboard main chipset to ICH9.

chipset ICH9

10) By default when disk created for virtual machine, it will be mounted in SATA controller. But, manually you have to mount the virtual hard disk to IDE controller.

ide disk


I’m sure above steps will be helpful to fix some booting and crashing issues in Windows 8 with Oracle VirtualBox.

Network and sound works fine inside virtual machine. It’s a nice experience to work with the latest OS in virtualization environment without disturbing your existing physical Operating Systems.

I have already written a guide on install Windows 8 in VMware workstation 8 which works better than VirtualBox (in my computer).

Let me know how the above installation went in your computer and how is the performance.


  1. Kuki Dent says

    JFYI: Meanwhile VBox 4.1.4 is out with support for Win8 32bit and 64bit. I just installed Win8 build 8102 in my VBox. Guest additions were already installed an work from the beginning. So mouse pointer integration is now available.

  2. Troy says

    I’m trying to install the guest additions but the option “devices – install guest additions” is not there.

    My computer is a MacBook pro with lion installed. I have virtualbox version 4.1.6 r74713. In fact I don’t even have a ‘devices’ menu. I have one called ‘machine’, but none of the menu options say “install guest additions”.

    Does anybody know how to do this from a MAC?

  3. says

    Hello all, I got it to work fine with out much issues.

    VirtualBox 4.1.6
    Host: Windows 2003 32-bit

    Did notice that the install would BSOD right in the beginning if the ISO was mounted on a SATA connection, worked fine on IDE. PCIX3 / ICH9 chipset worked fine, also PIIX4 / ICH6 controller worked fine. No audio testing done.

    Still working on getting guest additions installed.

  4. says

    Every time I install the virtual box program, I cannot run my windows on normal mode anymore. I should go to safe mode first and gladly there’s an option to system restore it to previous save point.

  5. Eric says

    I also can’t get Guest Additions to install even with windows 7 compatibility checked. I’m running the 32bit install. If anyone solves this let us know!


  6. John says

    I really thought that at last I would be able to install Windows 8 beta in Virtual Box under Windows 7 after finding this site and reading the instructiions here. Still the same problem though which nobody else seems to be having.
    Everything goes ok until it starts to install and then a Message Box appears telling me that there is not a driver for my DVD and if I have a driver on DVD/CD or USB stick then browse to it so that the driver can be installed. It then says that if I am installing Windows 8 from a DVD I can take this out to put the other DVD with the driver in the DVD.
    This happens whether I try to install from the actual DVD or the iso file.
    Am I missing something! I am using the DVD already to Install Windows 8 so how can in need a driver for it to work. Even if it is using a Generic driver at the moment, it works, yet it will not let me continue and leave getting a better driver until the full install is done.
    I have the latest copy of Virtual Box and just downloaded the lastest Windows 8 beta copy and my laptop is a Dell XPS M1530.
    Has anyone and ideas, please.

  7. John says

    Finally got Windows 8 installed when I found that the iso file was corrupted. I downloaded a new copy of the iso file and everything seemed to go ok until the install hung while unpacking the file. I tried this a number of times and it hung at different positions. I then burnt the iso file only a dvd and started the install from the dvd. Everything then went fine until the final reboot when it went into Metro and I could do nothing at all. I therefore shut it down through Virtual Box, ran it again, logged in and everything now works ok. No luck with Guest Additions though.

  8. John M. Keller (ITBeast) says

    Great Article, I love the Detail you have put into it. I’ll be using this as a good reference article.

  9. jim ryan says

    I installed virtualbox as per instructions in WebUser magazine, installed the windows 8 preview, now I try and search for virtualbox its got nothing but a readme, and I can`t uninstall windows 8, I cant even roll back, using recovery , or F9 ,F10 from the minute I turn on hoping to boot from dvd drive then re install windows vista business , all windows 8 has done is fck my system, I cant even print a page.help me someone what can I do ,Im no expert!

    • John says

      I do not know what WebUser said about installing VirtualBox and then Windows 8 preview in VirtualBox but if you have done it correctly then you can easily get rid of Windows 8. Just select Windows 8 in VirtualBox Manager, click the right button on your mouse and select ‘Remove’ and Windows 8 has gone. Well nearly, select ‘File’ then ‘Virtual Media Manager’ then select the Windows 8 disk ( The ‘.vdi’ file), release it and then delete it completely.
      You can then set up another Windows 8 machine and try to install it again. This is the beauty of using VirtualBox.
      Don’t blame Windows 8 I have it running great in VirtualBox. To me it seems like a great new OS.
      By the way, the latest Guest Additions now install with Windows 8.

  10. VBox says

    You don’t need Virtualisation Technology to run any virtual machines. You only require VT support for hardware if your current hardware cannot support the virtual machine alone. Vbox uses software virtualisation which limits the computer’s use of hardware (one processor/CPU etc) but withOUT the use of hardware VT support. If your single core cannot handle it, then yes you will need VT not it’s generally not needed. I don’t have it on any of my machines and I can run different OSs fine